Time to teach U.S. law to India?

Compelling question raised by this India Financial Express article, but we’re not sure its background facts are correct:

"Although there are no accurate estimates of the size of the sector in India, what is certain is that only a small percentage (2-3%) of the global demand has been tapped. For instance, in the US alone, the legal sector is estimated to be worth $166 billion, employing approximately one million attorneys and 500,000 support paralegals and assistants. On the other hand, the total employee base engaged in providing offshore legal services from India is estimated to be 600-700, indicating significant opportunity for future growth."

One area that confused us was the number of U.S. paralegals & attorneys reported in this article, so we looked it up. Sure enough, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported much smaller numbers for both paralegals & attorneys. "Paralegals and legal assistants held about 224,000 jobs in 2004." The BLS also reported that "lawyers in the U.S. held about 735,000 jobs in 2004."

So, what’s up with the inflated numbers? Trying to encourage moving more legal work from the U.S. to India? Maybe, if we’re interpreting these further paragraphs from the article correctly:

"The government in collaboration with industry bodies like Nasscom, can play a crucial role in allaying the issues of political sensitivity. These issues are bound to be raised repeatedly as India witnesses a transition to higher-end knowledge services. A structured government/industry program must be crystallised to address these concerns on a continual basis.

"For LPO specifically, academic programs at India’s law schools may be updated/upgraded to ensure their alignment with global standards to address quality concerns. Universities can introduce new courses in the areas of US/UK laws, to minimise costs and time efforts incurred in training Indian resources which will further reinforce India’s attractiveness as an LPO destination."

Please tell us what you think!!